October 21, 2020

Basic Marketing Principles

Basic Marketing Principles

Marketing advice on the internet is abundant but all most people want to know is 'how do I convince people to buy my thing', not how the micro-influencer landscape has shifted in the past year. To that end, we've distilled the often overwhelming topic of marketing into its core principles- and given examples for how you can implement them yourself.

0. Creating a Valuable Product

In order to persuade someone to buy your service you need to make sure that you must start with a compelling product or service. You can use the best marketing strategy in the world, but if you've got a terrible product, your reputation will quickly catch up with you. Marketing can be seen as the multiplier of product - multiply 0 by anything and you will still end up with 0.

Once you have a good product or service, though, you can use the following psychological principles to convince others of its quality.

1. Reciprocation

This law denotes the internal pull we feel to repay, in kind, what someone else has given us. Examples of this can be found everywhere- from the compulsion we feel to go on a second date with a romantic partner after they've paid for the first, to our increased propensity to buy something after receiving a "free" sample.

This is why we feel compelled to contribute to our favourite creator's Patreon or Buy Me a Coffe we feel like we owe it to them.

Gary Vee is someone who understands this well, though he terms it slightly differently as the "jab, jab, jab, right hook" strategy. He provides thousands of hours of free content to his fans (jab), before asking for a small purchase of one of his books or a case of Empathy Wines in return (right hook)

What does this mean for you as a Quorum creator?

Well, like the examples above, publish free, valuable content for your target audience and they'll be more inclined to go for your paid services.

2. Commitment and Consistency

We have an instinctual desire to remain consistent with our prior actions and beliefs. If we've affirmed our belief in something in the past, then it's easier to stay consistent with that belief than confront the painful reality that we may have been wrong.

This means that it's easier to get people to comply with requests that they see as consistent with what they’ve already said or done.

A common application of this in sales is the 'foot-in-the-door technique'. Simply put, you can convince someone to agree to a large request by having them agree to a modest one first

What does all of this mean for you?

Here's a few ideas for how you can use this psychological tendency to attract more members to your group:

  1. Ask people to agree to a free consultation before asking them to commit to your group.
  2. Frame your value proposition in a way that's consistent with how your target audience sees themselves.
  3. Ask group members to publicly endorse your content. If they're endorsing it, they must value it highly, right?

3. Social Proof

Humans are imitative beings. When we're faced with a decision, we look to what those around us are doing as our guide. These social cues are pervasive. Some are small and banine: the laugh tracks on TV shows encourage us to laugh. Others more ominous: think, the widespread compliance with Nazism in the 1930s. But, as with all of these principles, this can be used to promote positive behaviour when you have the customer's interests at heart.

Companies and individuals use this psychological effect all the time to produce the desired behaviour among customers. Bartenders seed their tip jars with a few dollars to give the impression that tipping is the norm. Shopify stores install a plug in called 'Fomo' which greets visitors with messages like "102 people are shopping on our store right now" and "37 people bought this in the last few hours".

Some quick and easy ways to boost your offering with social proof:

  1. Include testimonials on your sales page.
  2. Share the stories of your most successful clients
  3. Offer your customers incentives for sharing your group with their friends and social media followers.

4. Liking

We are more likely to agree to a person's request if we know and like them.

This seems obvious, but it's a powerful and under-utilised psychological tool.

Does this mean that you should only offer your services to pre-existing friends? No, even social butterflies would quickly run out of leads.

People like people who resemble themselves. If you speak in the language of your target audience and share common interests with them, you'll produce a favorable and trustworthy image in their eyes. Don't think of this as a gimmick, but as a reason to deeply understand your target audience and build authentic relationships with potential customers.

How can you use the liking tendency to attract new members to your group?

1. Speak in their language.

2. Build authentic relationships with them.

3. Connect with them on common interests.

5. Authority

We tend to look to figures of authority for guidance. We'll often accept the advice of managers, policemen and PHDs without question, when we'd question that same advice if it came from our less credentialed peers.

How can you use Authority to build your Quorum group?

A few ideas:

1. When sharing ideas with your group, reference the source material and back them up with quotes from notable individuals.

  1. Whether you like it or not, people conflate credentials with competence. If you have relevant credentials, share them on your personal website to build credibility with your audience. You don't need to be a world-renowned expert in your field to be impressive, just underscore how your unique experience has equipped you with insights that can help your target audience.

Here's another good example from Julian Shapiro's website. After reading this impressive bio, you're eager to learn more about Julian's thoughts on marketing, startups, and anything else he has to say.

6. Scarcity

Scarcity sells. We want more of what is less available, or what is dwindling in availability. This is economics 101: the more rare a good is, the more valuable it becomes.

Think of the streetwear brands who artificially constrain supply of their clothing, to elevate their prestige and perceived value.

As a rule of thumb: to elevate something's perceived value, make it more scarce and exclusive. All of this, of course, after you've provided value upfront to benefit from the law of reciprocity.

How can you use scarcity to grow your Quorum revenue?

Here are a few ideas...

  1. Create a waitlist to give your group a sense of exclusivity.
  2. Create premium, exclusive groups with small groups of people and upsell people from your less exclusive groups to these ones.
  3. Make limited time offers to access your group or services at a lower price.


Most marketing advice stems from the above principles of persuasion: reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity. Alone, these principles are powerful. Put them together, and you get what Charlie Munger describes as 'the lollapalooza effect'. That is, the synergy of interlocking cognitive biases to produce powerful and predictable results.

If you use these with your customers' best interests at heart, and put them behind a great product or service, you'll be able to produce outlier results both for your business and for the people it serves.

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